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Religions roll with the times

By Michael Runyan ~

Religions roll with the times and the tides. A good example of that is what has happened in the United States over the past 50 years. Back then, Jesus was ambivalent about abortion. Now he is solidly anti-abortion. Back then he cared deeply about poor people, but the modern Jesus opposes almost all forms of poverty assistance from food stamps to Social Security. He was also a great healer who ministered to the sick, but lately he is opposed to universal health care and Medicaid. Five decades ago, Jesus was a pacifist (turn the other cheek), but now he is a stand-your-ground man toting a semi-automatic rifle and 25-bullet clip – yes, he opposes all forms of gun control. He has also gone from not being concerned about gay people to now seeing them as sinful reprobates. He was primarily a socialist in biblical times, but today he is a staunch capitalist despising government interference. He wore long hair during his time on earth (or so the paintings of him imply), but now he sees long hair on men as being effeminate.

This is one isolated example in a sea of them over the ages of humanity’s walk with the gods. In every instance, the gods are a reflection of the times, knowledge, desires, and prejudices of the people who invented them. In the case of the Republican Jesus (U.S.), the god is bent to a new shape that doesn’t even comply with the revered (and now static) holy book. This shows that religion can be so malleable that it doesn’t even need to be constrained by its own scripture – it can simply morph into whatever the holders of the faith desire.

Of course this is not what we would expect if an actual god was imparting his wisdom and instructions to humanity. It would be a consistent directive that continually bends society to itself rather than it being bent to society. Gods that always reflect contemporary culture are gods that don’t exist.